Perek Shira In English
Introductory text of the Perek Shira Rabbi Eliezer said: Anyone who involves himself with Perek Shirah in this world, merits saying it in the World-to-Come, as it says, “Then Moshe will sing”; it does not say “sang,” but “will sing” in the World-to-Come. And Rebbi said: Anyone who involves himself with Perek Shirah in this world — I testify that he is destined for the World-to-Come, and he is saved from the evil inclination, and from harsh judgment, and from the destroying Satan, and from all types of enemies, and from the birth pangs of Mashiaḥ, and from the judgment of Gehennom; and he merits to learn and to teach, to observe and to fulfill and to perform [the Torah], and his studies are established in him, and his days are lengthened, and he merits life in the World-to-Come. The Sages said concerning King David that when he completed the book of Psalms, he became proud. He said before the blessed Holy One, “Is there any creature you have created in your world that says more songs and praises than I?” At that moment a frog happened across his path, and it said to him: “David! Do not become proud, for I recite more songs and praises than you. Furthermore, every song I say contains three thousand parables, as it says, ‘And he spoke three thousand parables, and his songs were one thousand five hundred.' And furthermore, I am busy with a great mitsvah, and this is the mitsvah with which I am busy: there is a certain type of creature by the edge of the sea whose sustenance is entirely from [creatures living in] the water, and when it is hungry, it takes me and eats me, such that I fulfill that which it says, ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you shall heap coals of fire on his head, and YHVH shall reward you'; do not read ‘shall reward you’ but instead ‘shall make him complete you.’”
The Heavens say: "The Heavens tell of God's glory, and the firmament tells of His handiwork." (Psalms 19:2) The Earth says: "Hashem's is the earth and all its entirety, the inhabited land and those who dwell therein" (Psalms 24:1). And it says, "We have heard songs from the edge of the earth, glory to the righteous." (Isaiah 24:16) The Garden of Eden says: "Arouse, O North, and come, O South! Blow upon my garden, let its fragrance flow forth; let my beloved come to His garden and partake of its treasured fruit." (Song of Songs 4:16) Gehennom says: "For He has satiated a longing soul and has filled the hungry soul with good." (Psalms 107:9) The Desert says: "The desert and the wasteland shall rejoice, and the arid region shall rejoice and blossom like a rose." (Isaiah 35:1) The Fields say: "Hashem founded the land with wisdom; He established the heavens with understanding." (Proverbs 3:19) The Waters say: "The sound of His voice places the multitude of waters in the heavens and He raises the vapors from the end of the earth." (Jeremiah 51:16) The Seas say: "More than the voices of many waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea, Hashem is mighty on high." (Psalms 93:4) The Rivers say: "Let the rivers clap their hands, together the mountains shall sing for joy!" (Psalms 98:8) The Wellsprings say: "And as singers that are flutists, are all my wellsprings within you." (Psalms 87:7)
The Day says: "The day to day utters speech and night to night expresses knowledge." (Psalms 19:3) The Night says: "To tell of Your compassion in the morning, and of Your faithfulness by nights." (Psalms 92:3) The Sun says: "The sun (covered by) the moon stands in its abode; they proceed by the light of Your arrows and by the flash of Your glittering spear." (Habakuk 3:11) The Moon says: "He made the moon for the festivals; the sun knows its destination." (Psalms 104:19) The Stars say: "You alone are Hashem; You made the heavens, and the heaven of heavens and all their legions, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them, and You give them all life; and the heavenly legion bows down to You." (Nehemiah 9:6) The Rain Clouds say: "He made darkness His secret place; His surroundings are His shelter, the darkness of water the clouds of the heavens." (Psalms 18:12) The Clouds of Glory say: "Even when it's clear, He troubles the rain cloud to form; the cloud shall spread its light." (Job 37:11) The Wind says: "I will say to the north, relinquish; and to the south, do not withhold; bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth." (Isaiah 43:6) The Lightning says: "He makes lightning for the rain; He brings forth the wind from His treasuries." (Psalms 135:7)
The Trees of the Field say: "Then shall the trees of the forest sing out at the presence of Hashem, for He comes to judge the earth." (Chronicles I, 16:33) The Grapevine says: "So says Hashem: When the wine is found in the cluster, and one says, 'Do not destroy it, for it contains a blessing,' so I shall do for the sake of My servants, so as not to destroy everything." (Isaiah 65:8) The Fig says: "He who guards the fig shall eat of her fruits." (Proverbs 27:18) The Pomegranate says: "Your cheeks are like a slice of pomegranate under the lock of your hair." (Song of Songs 4:3) The Palm says: "The righteous flower like the palm tree; they grow tall like a cedar in Lebanon." (Psalms 92:13) The Apple says: "Like the apple among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. I yearned for and sat in his proximity, and his fruit is sweet to my palate." (Song of Songs 2:3) The Sheaves of Wheat say: "A song of ascents; from the depths I have called out to You, Hashem." (Psalms 130:1) The Sheaves of Barley say: "A prayer of the pauper when he swoons, and pours his supplications before Hashem." (Psalms 102:1) The Other Sheaves say: "The meadows don sheep; the valleys wrap themselves in fodder, they shout for joy, they even sing!" (Psalms 65:14) The Vegetables of the Field say: "The furrows are watered in abundance, the soil is settled, You soften it with showers, You bless its growth." (Psalms 104:31) The Grasses say: "May the glory of Hashem endure forever; may Hashem rejoice in His works." (Psalms 104:31)
The Rooster says: "When the Holy One, blessed be He, comes to the righteous in the Garden of Eden, all the trees of the Garden of Eden exude their fragrance, and they rejoice and praise, and then He arouses and praises." (Zohar, Vayakhel, 195) In its first call it says: "Raise up your heads, O gates! Be uplifted, eternal portals, so that the King of Glory may enter! Who is He, the King of Glory? Hashem, the mighty and strong, Hashem, the mighty in battle!" (Psalms 24:7-8) In its second call it says: "Raise up your heads, O gates, and raise up, eternal portals, so that the King of Glory may enter. Who is He, the King of Glory? Hashem, Master of Legions, He is the King of Glory, Selah!" (Psalms 24:9-10) In its third call it says: "Stand, O righteous ones, and engross yourselves in Torah so that your reward will be double in the World-to-Come." In its fourth call it says: "I have hoped for Your salvation, Hashem." (Genesis 49:18) In its fifth call it says: "How long will you recline, O lazy one? When will you rise from your sleep?" (Proverbs 6:9) In its sixth call it says: "Do not love sleep, lest you become poor; open your eyes and you shall be satiated with bread." (Proverbs 20:13) In its seventh call it says: "It's time to act for Hashem, for they have violated Your Torah." (Psalms 119:126) The Hen says: "He gives bread to all flesh, for His lovingkindness endures forever." (Psalms 136:25) The Pigeon says: "Like a crane or a swallow, so do I chatter; I moan like a pigeon, my eyes weakened from looking upward; O Lord, I am oppressed, be my security." (Isaiah 38:14) The pigeon says before The Holy One, blessed be He, "Master of the World, may my sustenance be as bitter as an olive in Your hands, rather than being sweet as honey in the hands of flesh and blood." (Gemorra, tractate Eruvin 18b) The Eagle says: "And You, Hashem, Lord of Hosts, Lord of Israel, arouse to punish the nations; do not pardon the wicked traitors, Selah." (Psalms 59:6) The Crane says: "Give thanks to Hashem with the lyre; play for Him with the ten-stringed harp." (Psalms 33:2) The Bird says: "A Bird has also found its home and the sparrow a nest for herself where she placed her young; Your altars, Hashem of Hosts – my King and my God." (Psalms 84:4) The Swallow says: "So that my soul shall sing Your honor and shall not be silent, Hashem my God – I shall forever thank you." (Psalms 30:13) The Swift says: "My help is from Hashem, Maker of Heaven and Earth." (Psalms 121:2) The Petrel says: "Light is sown for the righteous, joy for the straight-of-heart." (Psalms 97:11) The Bat says: "Be comforted, My people, be comforted, says your God." (Isaiah 1:40) The Stork says: "Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and call to her that her sentence is over since her sins have been pardoned, for she has received double from Hashem's hand for all her sins." (Isaiah 40:2) The Crow says: "Who prepares food for the crow, when his young ones cry out to Hashem?" (Job 38:41) The Starling says: "Their descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall recognize them, that they are the seed that Hashem has blessed." (Isaiah 61:9) The Domestic Goose says: "Give thanks to Hashem and call His name, inform the nations of His works! Sing to Him, chant to Him, speak of all His wonders!" (Psalms 105: 1-2) The Wild Goose that flies in the wilderness, when it sees Israel engrossed in Torah says: "A voice cries, Make way for Hashem, straighten a path in the desert for our God" (Isaiah 40:3). And upon finding its subsistence says: "Cursed is the man who trusts in a human; blessed is the man who trusts in Hashem, and Hashem shall be his assurance." (Jeremiah 17: 5, 7) The Ducks say: "Trust in Hashem forever, for in God Hashem is the everlasting rock." (Isaiah 26:4) The Bee-Eater says: "I will whistle to them and gather them, for I have redeemed them, and they shall multiply as they multiplied." (Zechariah 10:8) The Grasshopper says: "I lift my eyes to the mountains, from where shall my help come?" (Psalms 121:1) The Locust says: "Hashem, You are my God; I will exalt You and give thanks to Your Name for You have done wonders; Your counsel from afar is faithfulness and trust." (Isaiah 25:1) The Spider says: "Praise Him with sounding cymbals! Praise Him with clashing cymbals!" (Psalms 150:5) The Fly says, when Israel is not engrossed in Torah: "The voice said, 'Call out'. And he said, 'What shall I call out? All flesh is grass and its kindness is like the blossom of the field.' The grass withers and the blossom fades, but the word of God shall endure forever" (Isaiah 40:6,8). "I create the expression of the lips: Peace, peace for the far and for the near says Hashem, and I will heal him." (Isaiah 57:19) The Giant Sea Creatures say: "Praise Hashem from the earth, the giant sea creatures and the depths." (Psalms 148:7) The Whale says: "Give thanks to Hashem for He is good, His kindness endures forever." (Psalms 136:1) The Fish say: "The voice of Hashem is upon the waters, The God of glory thunders; Hashem is upon a multitude of waters." (Psalms 29:3) The Frog says: "Blessed is the Name of His glorious Kingdom forever and ever!" (Talmud, tractate Pesachim 56a)
The Sheep and Goats say: "Who is like You among the might ones, Hashem, who is like You, adorned in holiness, awesome in praise, worker of wonders!" (Exodus 15:11) The Cattle say: "Rejoice unto God, our strength, applaud the God of Jacob!" (Psalms 81:2) The Swine say: "Hashem is good to the upright and the straight of heart." (Psalms 128:2) The Beast of Burden says: "If you eat the fruit of your labors, how happy and fortunate you are." (Psalms 128:2) The Camel says: Hashem roars from upon high and sounds His voice from His holy Abode, and roars His agony about His Temple. (Jeremiah 25:30) The Horse says: "Behold, as the eyes of the servants to their master's hand, as the eyes of a maid to her mistress's hand, so are our eyes to Hashem our God until He will favor us." (Psalms 123:2) The Mule says: "All the kings of earth shall acknowledge You, Hashem, for they have heard the sayings of Your mouth." (Psalms 138:4) The Donkey says: "To You, Hashem, is the greatness and the might and the triumph and the glory for everything in heaven and earth is Yours; To You, Hashem, is the monarchy and the sovereignty over every leader." (Chronicles I, 29:11) The Ox says: "Then sang Moses and the Children of Israel this song to Hashem, and they said, 'I shall sing to Hashem, for He has risen above the arrogant; He threw the horse and its rider into the sea." (Exodus 15:1) The Wild Animals say: "Blessed is the Good One Who does good." (Talmud, Berachos 48b) The Deer says: "And I shall sing of Your might and I shall rejoice of Your kindness in the morning, for You were a fortress for me and refuge on the day of my oppression." (Psalms 59:17) The Elephant says: "How great are your works, Hashem; Your thoughts are extremely deep." (Psalms 92:6) The Lion says: "Hashem shall go forth as a mighty man; as a warrior arouses zeal, He shall shout, even roar; He shall overcome His enemies." (Isaiah 42:13) The Bear says: "The wilderness and its cities shall lift raise their voices, the courtyards where Kedar dwells, the rock-dwellers shall rejoice, they will shout from the mountain peaks. They will give glory to Hashem and tell of His praise on the islands." (Isaiah 42:11-12) The Wolf says: "For every criminal act – for the ox, the donkey, the lamb, the garment, for every lost item which he says, 'This is it!', shall they both come with their claim to the judge; he who the judge finds guilty shall pay double to his fellow." (Exodus 22:8) The Fox says: "Woe to him that builds his house without righteousness and his upstairs rooms without justice; he employs his fellow with no wages, and will not pay him his due." (Jeremiah 22:13) The Greyhound says: "Let the righteous rejoice in Hashem; glory befits the upright." (Psalms 33:1) The Cat says: "I shall pursue my enemies and overtake them, and I shall not return until they are destroyed." (Psalms 30:2)
The Insects say: "May Israel rejoice in his Creator; may the children of Zion be joyful in their King." (Psalms 149:2) The Reptiles say: "Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the chambers of your house, your children like olive seedlings around your table." (Psalms 128:3) The Snake says: "Hashem supports the fallen and straightens the bent over." (Psalms 145:14) The Scorpion says: "Hashem is good to all, and His mercy is upon all His handiwork." (Psalms 145:9) The Snail says: "Like a snail that melts away, a stillbirth that does not see the sun." (Psalms 58:9) The Ant says: "Go to the ant, sluggard; see its ways and become wise." (Proverbs 6:6) The Mouse says: "And You are just for all that comes upon me, for You have acted in truth and I have been wicked." (Nehemia 9:33) The Rat says: "Let every soul praise Hashem, Halleluja!" (Psalms 150:6) The Dog says: "Come, let us prostrate ourselves and bow, let us kneel before Hashem our Maker." (Psalms 95:6).
Prayer after the recitation of Perek Shira
Rabbi Yeshayah, student of Rabbi Ḥanina ben Dosa, fasted eighty-five fasts. He said, “Dogs, about which it is written, ‘the dogs are brazen of spirit; they do not know satisfaction' - shall they merit saying a song?” An angel answered him from Heaven and said to him, “Yeshayah, until when will you fast over this? It is an oath from the blessed Holy One; from the day that he revealed his secret to Havakuk the prophet, he has not revealed this matter to anyone in the world. But because you are the student of a great man, I have been sent from Heaven to assist you. They said that dogs have written about them, ‘No dog sharpened its tongue against any of the children of Yisra’el'. Furthermore, they merited that hides are tanned with their excrement, on which Tefillin, Mezuzot, and Torah scrolls are written. For this reason they merited saying a song. And regarding what you asked, take back your word and do not continue in this way, as it is written, ‘He that guards his mouth and tongue, guards from afflictions of his soul.’” Blessed is YHVH forever, Amen and Amen. Master of all the Worlds, may it be Your will, O HaShem, my G-d and the G-d of my forefathers, that in the merit of Perek Shirah that I have recited and in which I involved myself, which is the song of mineral, vegetable, and animal, and the holy angels that are appointed over them by HaShem, Blessed is He, and [which is the song] of the connection of the Divine Presence with all the worlds, and the connection of the lower worlds with the higher worlds, and the recitation of which is like an offering upon the Altar - that this time should be a time of mercy, a time of attentiveness, a time of giving ear, when we call upon You and You answer us, [a time] when we beseech You and You respond to us. May our recitation and involvement in Perek Shira rise up before You as if we have comprehended all the mysteries, wonders, and awesomeness that are sealed within it, in its every manifestation. Bring us back in complete repentance before You, and may we merit [to reach] the place from which the life-forces, spirits, and souls are hewn, as if we had performed everything that we are called upon to comprehend, whether in this transmigration [of the soul] or in other transmigrations. And may we be among those who ascend to and merit the World to Come, among the other righteous and devout people. And may You fulfill all the requests of our heart for good (**at this point one may express one's personal requests**) and may You be with our heart and the utterances of our mouth at the times of our thoughts, and with our hands at the times when we act. And may You send blessing and success and relief in all our handiwork. May You let us stand up from amid our suffering and may You raise us up from the trash heaps of poverty. Through the strength of this song may all the powerful [judgments] be sweetened and may blessing be spread out in all the worlds. May we merit to sing in the Time to Come and may You return the Divine Presence to Your Holy City speedily, in our days, Amen.